This ninth 9th edition was celebrated today Saturday 22 May in the Espace des Atlantes, in Les Sables-d’Olonne. The health situation in France means crowds were strictly limited and it was a relatively muted affair compared to previous years. But the smiles were broad and the laughter audible as the skippers met up for the first time since the start last year, and had a great chance to finally share memories in person.
31 of the 33 skippers entered in the 9th Vendée Globe were there. Only Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer – Yacht Club de Monaco) and Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) could not come. Pip Hare (Medallia, already on her way to the next edition) and Ari Huusela (Stark) both made it to Les Sables d’Olonne.
For Yannick Bestaven (Maître-CoQ) the winner, the day started in an atmosphere more reminiscent of Hollywood as the 2020-2021 champion added his handprints to the Remblai winners where Armel Le Cléac’h (2016- 2017) who he succeeds and those of, François Gabart (2012-2013), Michel Desjoyeaux (2000-2001, 2008-2009), Vincent Riou (2004-2005), Christophe Auguin (1996-1997), Alain Gautier (1992- 1993) and Titouan Lamazou (1989-1990).
The programme featured an hour-long TV show, broadcast on vendeeglobe.org and social media. Skippers recounted their memories, the highlights including Jérémie Beyou talking of his changed perspective on racing round the world, Clément Giraud talking of his voyage of self discovery, but also the rescue of Kevin Escoffier relived and of course that epic, close battle to the finish line.